What is a ford?

A ford is a man-made point where you can safely cross water on foot, horseback or by vehicle without being swept away or getting bogged down. The base of the ford can be in the form of a submerged road or stones. 

How to cross a ford?

It can be dangerous to launch your 4x4 into a ford without having checked out the length & depth, the type of bed as well as the force of the current.

When you have checked, you must enter the ford smoothly, so that the vehicle creates a bow wave - a kind of roller in front of the bumper - without ever going over the bonnet. This is to avoid the engine sucking up water through the air filter.

It is also important to know exactly where your air intake is on your 4x4. This dictates your limited capacity to cross a ford. The air intake is often located at a front wing, behind one of the two headlights.


To increase your capacity to handle a ford crossing you need to fit a snorkel. This is basically a raised air intake that runs up alongside the windscreen and allows you to tackle deeper fords whilst avoiding the risk of sucking up water into the engine.

Be careful!!

However, even with a snorkel, crossing deep fords requires extreme caution. Deep water can lead to poor contact between the wheels and the bed of the floor and the 4x4 may start to float. When this happens, you run the risk of being swept away by the current. The golden rule is, if in doubt, look for another, less dangerous crossing point.

If you get stuck during a crossing and the exhaust pipe is below the water, you must avoid stalling and keep the engine running to prevent water running up through the exhaust pipe.

If you do unfortunately stall whilst crossing do not attempt to start up again. if water is sucked up you can seize your engine in seconds.  You will need to be towed / winched out. Do not attempt to start the engine until safely on the other bank.


Play safe and fit a snorkel on your 4x4!
Euro4x4parts offer a vast range of snorkel options for over 20 makes of 4x4 :

Euro4x4parts "Equipaddict" Snorkels

Airflow Snorkels

Safari Snorkels

AFN Snorkels

Mantec Snorkels

Land Rover Snorkels

ORC Snorkels

Please note: Euro4x4Parts publishes this information to help its customers but cannot be held responsible for the advice given here and practical consequences therin. 

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All the photos in our articles are taken on authorized roads or tracks, private land, or during supervised competitions. Let's all do our part to preserve the environment!

Please note: Euro4x4parts publishes this information to help its customers, but cannot be held responsible for the advice given here and their consequences when used.